We are thrilled to welcome seven new members of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project team!! Zoe is our new farm crew member and our education department has hired six new team members to run brand new after-school garden clubs in City of Poughkeepsie Schools.
Aozora (Zoe) Brockman, farm crew member, was raised on an organic vegetable farm in Central Illinois, and spent most of her life planting, weeding, and harvesting alongside her brothers, parents and grandparents. Immediately after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Creative Writing, she returned home to look after the farm while her parents spent a “sabbatical” year in Japan. Once her parents returned home, she worked as a full-time farm hand for a season before moving to New York to live with her partner, Austin. Zoe worked as a part-time crew member at Glynwood before joining the PFP team. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from PFP’s model of community-engaged farming, and dreams of someday merging her two loves—farming and writing—and operating a community-focused farm of her own.
Maria Cali, garden assistant, is a senior at Vassar College, where she studies Sociology. She has been working at PFP since Spring ’16 with the education team, with one semester off when she went to study abroad in India, Tanzania, and Italy to learn more about food sovereignty and food systems. Maria hopes to be a lead teacher in a classroom, as she thinks education is one of the best ways in which to enact social change. She is passionate about the presence of youth in social justice work, and celebrates the many ways in which food is a part of that.
Sevine Clarey, garden assistant, loves food: cooking with it, studying it, teaching with it, and eating it. If she is not in her kitchen trying finding different variations of cooking sweet potatoes, she is drinking tea, hiking, climbing, or at PFP. Sevine is currently a sophomore at Vassar College and started working at the PFP fall of 2016. She has loved every experience she has had with them. The team is amazing and she cannot wait to see what new adventures lie ahead!
Christine (Chris) Gavin, garden educator, is a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie with a BA from Vassar College, and she has been working as a farmer and educator in the region for over a decade. Her passion for agriculture grew from her academic interest in social justice and the desire to create tangible positive change in her local community. Her educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that we are all stewards of the natural world and that it is essential that we pass that sense of responsibility to the next generation to help build ethical global citizens. Chris was a farmer and an educator at Sprout Creek Farm for many years and most recently she taught in Beacon public schools as a Garden Educator with Hudson Valley Seed. When she's not teaching, Chris dabbles in urban farming in the City of Poughkeepsie with a yard full of veggies and a small flock of chickens.
Isiah Hawley, garden assistant, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. As a teen, Isiah moved to he moved to Poughkeepsie to live with his older sister. When he was 17, he started working on his GED through Nubian Directions. In his time there, he learned how to do construction work and built many different structures. During his time at Nubian Directions, Isiah earned many construction-related certifications. When he was a child, Isiah and his sister use to eat broccoli all the time together; it is still his favorite vegetable. Isiah’s passion is music and he has an ear for any genre of music. Isiah also makes his own music with his brothers; he says it is "good bonding time." Isiah loves to make people laugh always has a smile on his face.
Larissa Pitcher-Alvarado, garden assistant, fell in love with PFP after attending the Farm Fresh Home Chefs program they held at Clinton School with her niece and nephews. This program is amazing because it brings families and the community together delivering education about food, healthy eating, gardening, and cooking. She has always had an interest in healthy eating and community. She is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful establishment and is looking forward to learning and sharing really cool stuff!
Briggin Scharf, garden educator, is thrilled to join the PFP education team and grow sacred gardens with Poughkeepsie youth! After spending several seasons farming in the Hudson River Valley -- at Phillies Bridge Farm Project in New Paltz and Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent -- Briggin is excited to return to the outdoor classroom to share her passions for food sovereignty, celebrating nature and chowing-down on home-cooked delicacies with her new students and co-instructors. Briggin previously managed urban elementary school gardens in San Francisco and New York City, as well as held a range of jobs from brewing kombucha to milking dairy cows to installing art exhibits in museums. She loves to hike, sing, discover new herbal remedies, draw, and travel!